There's a way to meet your daily step goal on the best courses in the world without even leaving your house
Photographer: Kevin Cremens
It’s been estimated golfers walk between five to six miles during an 18-hole round. At an average stride of 2.5 feet, this easily gets you to the CDC recommended 10,000 steps a day goal. Hitting this step goal each day burns on average 2,000-3,500 calories a week, which can equate to losing one pound per week. Using a fitness tracker like a Fitbit is a great way to track these goals and encourage a more active lifestyle.
Justin Thomas has no issue hitting his step goals. He posted his Fitbit stats in 2017 after a grueling practice round at Erin Hills clocked 19,720 steps.
Considering Erin Hills was set up at around 7,800 yards, it’s fair to say Thomas did more than just walk the course straight. To put Thomas' 19,720 steps into perspective, 7,800 yards equates to about 9,360 strides. He did add the caveat that this step count included a one hour warm-up, but that should be included in any golf routine. So you should aim to walk a little more than a straight Erin Hills each day, even better if you are reaching “Justin Thomas' practice round at Erin Hills” steps per day.
Getting out on the course is an easy way to reach that step goal, but if you’re stuck behind a desk or in colder climates, you can channel your steps-a-day goal virtually through your golf course bucket list.
The Fitbit app offers daily challenges to encourage users to get their steps in that are inspired by different hikes through Yosemite Park. Why not create similar golf-specific challenges each day? Aim to walk two Augusta Nationals each day or trek the top 10 of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses each week.
To keep things simple, let’s assume you’re walking the course pretty straight, although feel free to add some extra steps (1,000-1,500) to account for natural play. If you're prone to spraying it all over the place, add about 3,000 additional steps.
Here’s what those step challenges would look like on the 2019 major courses:
Augusta National (7,435 yards) 8,922 steps
Pebble Beach (6,828 yards) 8,194 steps
Bethpage Black (7,465 yards) 8,958 steps
Royal Portrush (7,317 yards) 8,782 steps
Aim to reach “the turn” before lunch and finish out your round before you leave the office. It likely won't add to your step count, but why not take a few swings while waiting for the elevator or between meetings?
Beyond step goals, using a Fitbit can help achieve calorie-burn and fitness goals as well. The app estimates that you burn 275 calories every hour of playing golf. According to the CDC, you should be supplementing your weekly golf routine with 150 minutes of aerobic activity and at least two strength-building workouts per week—both of which can be tracked on the devices. The Fitbit app recognizes almost any form of exercise, including running, biking, kickboxing and weightlifting. With the heart rate tracking capability, the tracker can help target key heart rate zones during workouts for more efficient fat burn.
The new product line includes the Fitbit Versa Lite and Fitbit Inspire HR. While neither are golf-specific accessories, both can become your favorite on- and off-course tracking tools.
The Versa Lite is the brand’s most affordable smartwatch to date. It’s a fitness tracker that tracks exercise, steps, heart rate and sleep. Calendar, text and call notification are displayed on a screen that resembles an Apple Watch.
The Fitbit Inspire HR is an unobtrusive yet attractive fitness tracker. It’s got heart rate and sleep tracking, a 5-day battery life and is fully waterproof. It also counts steps, tracks exercise and displays notifications from your phone, but on a much smaller screen than the Versa Lite. Both the smartwatch and fitness tracker offer interchangeable bands for every style and occasion.
These products may not give yardages or analyze your game, but there are plenty of reasons for golfers to wear one.